WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin's skates left the ice as he scored a goal off a breakaway, and Mike Green and Eric Fehr also contributed two points apiece, helping the Washington Capitals edge the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Saturday night.
Green snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal with 6:52 left, putting in a backhander off assists from Fehr and Ovechkin. About two minutes later, Ovechkin made it 3-1, taking the puck off the boards, streaking in, and tumbling to his back after scoring his 15th goal.
He rose with white ice shavings covering his red jersey, then greeted teammates to celebrate.
Florida's Evgeny Dadonov scored off a rebound with 1:37 remaining to make it a one-goal game, but the Panthers couldn't convert on a power play over the final 65 seconds.
The Capitals have killed 27 consecutive short-handed situations.
Washington is 6-0-2 in its last eight games, while last-place Florida has lost three in a row.
Washington goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped 25 shots, and has allowed only six goals in five games. Scott Clemmensen got his 12th start of the season for Florida, giving Tomas Vokoun a night off, and wound up with 24 saves.
Ovechkin, a two-time NHL MVP, entered the night with only two goals in 12 games, and four in his past 23. He's never scored fewer than 46 in a season, but he was on pace for only 28 at the midway point this season.
The Capitals as a whole have not been up to their usual go-go style, with only 22 goals in their previous nine games, an average slightly above 1½ per game.
Seeking a spark for his team's dormant offense, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau tinkered with his lines, including switching Ovechkin from left wing — on a line with center Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble — to right wing — alongside center Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich.
Alexander Semin shifted from his usual spot at right wing on Laich's line to left wing with Backstrom and Knuble.
Backstrom (16 games) and Semin (14) are on lengthy goal droughts. It's Semin's longest stretch since 2004.
The changes didn't immediately produce much in the way of chances for the Capitals: They only were credited with five shots in the first period. By the second, Boudreau decided to go back to the usual top line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble. Semin swapped places with Ovechkin, but then left the game after the second period with an injury; the Capitals said he was being evaluated.
Eventually, it was one of Washington's unheralded groupings that produced a goal. Mathieu Perrault brought the puck into Florida's zone and passed to Green. The defenseman swept around from behind the net and stuffed the puck into the crease, where Fehr tapped it in to make it 1-1 about 5½ minutes into the second period.
It was Fehr's eighth goal — and third in three games, after getting two in Washington's 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day.
Florida went ahead 1-0 3:49 into the game on Mike Santorelli's 11th goal.
NOTES: The Panthers have outscored opponents 18-6 in the first period over their last 12 games. ... The teams play each other again at Florida on Tuesday. ... Washington took all six meetings last season against Florida, but the Panthers won 3-0 at Washington on Dec. 9.